Homeowner's Academy

This is your guide to interesting facts, tips and general homeowner information. We hope you find the information useful - and feel free to share with friends!

Childproof Home Safety Tips when you have Babies & Toodlers

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Oct 28, 2013

happy-baby-bath-300x225Having a baby? Already have a toddler? It’s important to childproof your home. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that electrical outlets alone are responsible for 2,400 children visiting the emergency room each year. Children are natural explorer’s and their tiny bodies make it easier to get into area’s that can be dangerous. Innocent exploration can turn into poisonings, electrocutions, falls, and other awful hazards. 

The good news is that the risk of injury can be reduced or prevented by using child-safety devices and reminding older children in the house to re-secure safety devices after disabling them. Most of the safety devices recommended by the CPSC are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. However, to be effective they must be properly installed and checked on a regular basis that your child hasn’t figured out how to disable them. Here are some tips recommended from The Consumer Product Safety Commission that can help can your child safe. People’s Trust Insurance also recommend the following tips.

  • Cover your Electrical Outlets - In addition to their tiny fingers, children will find any number of household items to stick into the outlet—most often hairpins or keys. This innocent exploration can lead to first- or second-degree electrical burns, since a child’s skin is thinner and easily conducts electricity. In some instances, the electric shock can be fatal. You can’t prevent children from being curious, and constant supervision of them isn’t always possible either. So take a moment to become familiar with the electrical outlet safety measures currently available. Plastic Outlet Protectors - The most inexpensive safety outlet cover, these caps fit their prongs directly into outlet holes. The drawback is that children can figure out how to remove them. Also, you may forget to re-insert them and leave the outlet uncovered. If you misplace the small covers, they can be a choking hazard for very young children. Plastic outlet protectors may be better than nothing, but there are safer options. Complete Outlet Covers - These cover the complete outlet face, or switchplate. In addition, they cover the ends of your plugged-in cords, keeping the entire area of the wall safe. Make sure these are easy to remove for adults so other cords can be plugged in—but not too easy, as a curious child might then be able to snap them off the switchplate. Child Tamper-Resistant Face Outlet Covers - These covers are characterized by switchplates with faces that swivel or slide over the outlet holes. Check your hardware store, as some are intended as replacement switchplates and other kinds can be retrofit over existing outlets. Child Tamper-Resistant Outlets - They look just like any other outlet, but behind the face there are plastic shutters, designed to remain closed until a plug is inserted. Its safety is based on the idea that most young children will not try to stick two objects into the two vertical outlet holes at the same time. These are the safest option for electrical outlet safety, as they are permanent and automatic. 

  • Use Safety Latches and Locks for cabinets and drawers in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas to help prevent poisonings and other injuries. Safety latches and locks on cabinets and drawers can help prevent children from gaining access to medicines, household cleaners, matches, or cigarette lighters, as well as knives and other sharp objects. Even products with child-resistant packaging should be locked away and kept out of reach. This packaging is not childproof. Look for safety latches and locks that adults can easily install and use, but are sturdy enough to withstand pulls and tugs from children.

  • Use Safety Gates to help prevent falls down stairs and to keep children from entering rooms and other areas with possible dangers. Look for safety gates that children cannot dislodge easily, but that adults can open and close without difficulty. For the top of stairs, only use gates that screw to the wall. Use safety gates that meet current safety standards. Replace older safety gates that have “V” shapes that are large enough to entrap a child’s head and neck.

  • Use Door Knob Covers and Door Locks to help prevent children from entering rooms and other areas with possible dangers. Door knob covers and door locks can help keep children away from places with hazards. Be sure the door knob cover is sturdy, and allows a door to be opened quickly by an adult in case of emergency.

  • Use Anti-Scald Devices for faucets and shower heads and set your water heater tem­perature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to help prevent burns from hot water. Anti-scald devices for regulating water temperature can help reduce the likelihood of burns.

  • Use Smoke Alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside sleeping areas to alert you to fires. Smoke alarms are essential safety devices for protection against fire deaths and injuries. Check smoke alarms once a month to make sure they’re working. Change batteries at least once a year or consider using 10-year batteries for alarms.

  • Use Window Guards and Safety Netting to help prevent falls from windows, balconies, decks, and landings. Check these safety devices frequently to make sure they are secure and properly installed and maintained. Limit window openings to four inches or less, including the space between the window guard bars. If you have window guards, be sure at least one window in each room can be easily used for escape in a fire. Window screens are not effective for prevent­ing children from falling out of windows.

  • Use Corner and Edge Bumpers to help prevent injuries from falls against sharp edges of furniture and fireplaces. Be sure to look for bumpers that stay securely on furniture or hearth edges.

  • Use Outlet Covers and Outlet Plates to help prevent electrocution. Outlet covers and outlet plates can help protect children from electrical shock and possible electrocution. Be sure outlet protectors cannot be easily removed by children and are large enough so that children cannot choke on them. If you are replacing receptacles, use a tamper-resistant type.

  • Use a Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm to help prevent CO poisoning. All consumers should install CO alarms near sleeping areas in their homes. Change batteries at least once a year. CPSC recommends using Cordless Window Coverings in homes with young children, in order to help prevent strangulation. Children can wrap window covering cords around their necks or can pull cords that are not clearly visible but are accessible and become entangled in the loops. If you have window blinds from 2000 or earlier and you cannot afford new, cordless window coverings, call the Window Covering Safety Council at 800-506-4636 or visit WindowCoverings.org for a free repair kit. Window blinds that have an inner cord (for raising the slats of the blinds) can be pulled by a child and form a potentially deadly loop. Consumers should immediately repair these types of blinds. Consumers should know that WCSC’s retrofit kits do not address the dangling pull cord hazard associated with many common window blinds.

  • Use Anchors to Avoid Furniture and Appliance Tip-Overs. Furniture, TVs and ranges can tip over and crush young children. Deaths and injuries occur when children climb onto, fall against or pull themselves up on television stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, desks, chests and ranges. For added security, anchor these products to the floor or attach them to a wall. Free standing ranges and stoves should be installed with anti-tip brackets.

  • Use Layers of Protection with Pools and Spas. A barrier completely surrounding the pool or spa including a 4-foot tall fence with self-closing, self-latching gates is essential. If the house serves as a side of the barrier, doors heading to the pool should have an alarm or the pool should have a power safety cover. Pool alarms can serve as an additional layer of protection. Sliding glass doors, with locks that must be re-secured after each use, are not an effective barrier to pools.

This Blog is sponsored by:
People’s Trust Insurance Company